When I was in high school, many local teens spent their summer days working in a packing shed. The talk around the lunch table those last few weeks before summer break was which shed you would be working for. Some would be at Pearson and Lane, many at Duke's and still others, like myself would spend those hot summer days and many nights out here at Pearson Farm (known back then as Big 6.) These packing houses were full of teenagers making boxes and box tops, working in culls and on the loading docks. Packing sheds counted on these young people for their seasonal help and the community supported that by arranging the school schedules to coincide with the peach packing season. With changing labor regulations, advancements in technology, and the automation of many jobs in packing houses, coupled with changing school calendars, local teenage workers in a packing shed are really a thing of the past. We usually have a handful of college kids who work in our mail order and retail departments and almost all of our H2A workers are young but local young people in the packing house are few and far between. This year Pearson Farm has been blessed with one of those in between years.
Let me introduce Sherman. He is a local boy spending his summer vacation working in our packing shed. He, like those of us back in the day, will be headed off to college at the end of the summer to pursue a degree in engineering. He is working in the shed to make money to help fund his upcoming college experiences that will hopefully include many hours on a football field. He is working on Gary's crew building boxes, working on the tray/pack line and cleaning up the packing house. He works long, hot days in this packing shed building character and calling on a work ethic that is sometimes difficult to find these days.For those of us that spent summer days in a packing shed, our time “working in peaches” seemed more like a rite of passage than a summer job. Packing house owners, farmers, and our parents expected that the sheds would be full of teens and young folks working long, hot days also working on our character and a work ethic we would hopefully carry with us for years.It has been a joy to see Sherman's young face here this summer and we have certainly benefited from his strong back and arms. Like myself and so many others, Sherman is learning lessons from these long, hot days “working in peaches” that are strengthening his foundation. While he is bolstering his character and fortifying that work ethic, he is preparing for success in the college classroom, football field, and the rest of his life. Pearson Farm is proud to have Sherman here as he experiences this “rite of passage” and we wish him the best of luck as he goes off to school this fall!!